Urban playgrounds are important for city-dwelling families
While it's easy to think that the top jungle gyms for kids would be in the sprawling parklands of the suburbs, you might be mistaken. Just like Sesame Street's imaginary, inner-city neighbourhood, families are flocking to Sydney's refurbished inner city suburbs. Apartment living and location convenience are king and so is the need for great amenities for children.
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I visited the gentrified, waterside suburb of Pyrmont on the weekend, and was surprised, yet relieved, to see that council has reserved plenty of green spaces for locals with children. It inspired me to put together a shortlist of awesome playgrounds for inner city kids.
The spider web climbing frame at Pirrama Park is fun for little monkeys
This beautiful harbourside parkland is specially designed for families with growing kids, needing lots of room to run around, in an otherwise built-up area. The level of skill required for the playground equipment means that toddlers need to be closely supervised but there is ample freedom for pre-schoolers. They'll love the climbing frames, swings, spinning frames and water splash areas for those hot summer days. Take a family stroll by the water too.
The hill slides rule at Sydney Park - image c/o- Rebecca O'Farell, Sydney Mums Group
Once, only known as the industrial heartland of Sydney, Alexandria's face has changed over the last ten years. New, secure apartment blocks are going up everywhere, and city-loving families are moving in. And so it is that Sydney Park, the old brickworks site, has had a major makeover to suit the area's new clientele. The children's playground is well-known in mums' circles as a great place to take the kids. It is futuristic in appearance, with modern equipment to suit all ages. Highlights include giant hill slides of varying difficulties, a large climbing frame, a high wobbly bridge and swing facilities. It sounds unmissable, for locals. Playdate, anyone?
There is nothing like inner city water fun at Tumbalong Park - image c/o- Darling Harbour Facebook page
The extra special thing about this playground is that we tourists from the suburbs can share it too, on our next Sydney staycation visit to the bustling heart of Darling Harbour. This is water fun for youngsters of all ages, including toddlers. The 5-hectare park, adjacent to restaurants, Monkey Baa Theatre and the exhibition centre, boasts 26 water jets, a people-powered water scoop and 'screw and squirt' fun. Bring a towel, or don't bother. In the summer heat, it's a great way to cool down and the kids will dry off quickly.
Victoria Park playground has been upgraded - image c/o- Sydney Your Say
Located near a University and smack bang in the middle of urban Sydney, this park hasn't always had a great reputation as a safe family space. However, with surrounding areas of Ultimo, Broadway and Newtown being cleaned up, and with a changing demographic in the locale, City of Sydney Council has updated the park and its facilities. The space has always been famed for its flying fox but a major new playground has been built for children of all ages. Many community events are hosted here, so you know its being targeted to, and maintained for, families. If you live in an apartment in the area and need to get out with the kids, check it out and feel free to report back to us in the comments.
Futuristic awesomeness at Wulaba Park - image c/o- Sydney City Council
What keeps capturing our attention about this park is its 'mother-of-all' climbing towers and giant slide. Again, this is not a toddler play space but it's fab for older and more adventurous kids, who don't have back yards but have a lot of energy to burn. Covering more than 4,000 square metres of outdoor space, on Amelia Street, Waterloo, this playground is hard to beat, with ample room for BBQs and family days out.
These are just a few suggestions for you to try if you live in the Pyrmont, Darling Harbour, Inner West and Inner East neighbourhoods. If you're an urban family, where do you take your kids to play, and if not on this shortlist, which parks have the best equipment for a) toddlers, b) pre-school age and c) primary school kids? We'd love your feedback in the comments and on the Sydney Mums Group Facebook page. Join the Conversation...